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Acarajé (Portuguese pronunciation: [akaɾaˈʒɛ] ( listen)) or Akara is a dish made from peeled beans formed into a ball and then deep-fried in dendê (palm oil). It is found in West African and Brazilian cuisines. The dish is traditionally encountered in Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia, especially in the city of Salvador, often as street food, and is also found in many countries in West Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, Gambia.
It is served split in half and stuffed with vatapá and caruru – spicy pastes made from shrimp, ground cashews, palm oil and other ingredients. The most common way of eating acarajé is splitting it in half, pouring vatapá and/or caruru, a salad made out of green and red tomatoes, fried shrimps and homemade hot pepper sauce. A vegetarian version is typically served with hot peppers and green tomatoes.
Akara (as it is known in southwest and southeast Nigeria) a recipe taken to Brazil by the slaves from the West African coast. It is called "akara" by the Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria, "kosai" by the Hausa people of Nigeria or "koose" in Ghana and is a popular breakfast dish, eaten with millet or corn pudding. In Nigeria, Akara is commonly eaten with bread, "Ogi" (or "Eko"), a type of Cornmeal made with fine corn flour.
"'Akara'" is originally a recipe by the Yoruba people of South western Nigeria which has overtime being adopted by the rest of the country. Akara eaten with "Eko" used to play a significant role in the Yoruba culture, as it was specially prepared when a person who has come of Age (70 and Above) dies. It was usually fried in large quantity and distributed across every household close to the deceased. "Akara" also used to be prepared in large as a sign of victory, when warriors came back victorious from war.The women, especially the wives of the Warriors were to fry "Akara" and distribute it to the whole village.
Today in Bahia, Brazil, most street vendors who serve acarajé are women, easily recognizable by their all-white cotton dresses and headscarves and caps. The image of these women, often simply called baianas, frequently appears in artwork from the region of Bahia. Acarajé, however, is available outside of the state of Bahia as well, including the streets of its neighbor state Sergipe, and the markets of Rio de Janeiro.
Acarajé is a fixture in the Afro-Brazilian religious traditions of Candomblé. Although it is the ritual food of the goddess Iansã, the first acarajé in a candomblé ritual is offered to Exu.It is also eaten in fufu osun sauce and mutton.
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- Blazes, Marian. "Brazilian Black-Eyed Pea and Shrimp Fritters - Acarajé". About.com. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
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